things I don’t want to hear
(Or: What to say to the pregnant without pissing them off)
Of all the petty frustrations and extremely minor physical complaints that I’ve had since getting knocked up, OTHER PEOPLE are still my biggest gripe. There are some things that it’s good to hear when I tell people I’m pregnant, and others that are not so good.
I’ll start with a list of the good things, ’cause I’m in an optimistic mood:
- mazal tov
- b’sha’a tova
All three of the above don’t necessarily have to be accompanied by an exclamation mark, but it helps – a lot.
- you look wonderful
- good for you
- that’s great
- how exciting
And so on – there are many variations on the theme. Also acceptable is if the response to this new information is something like:
- have you been feeling okay? you look great!
- how far along are you? you must be thrilled!
Basically, all positive comments – or neutral comments closely followed by positive comments – are good. In fact, even the recent
- are you really?
Which was closely followed by positive reinforcement was also fine – wonder and awe are great – confusion and denial are not.
- you don’t look it
- yeah I know, so-and-so told me
- I knew it!
- I guessed, I’ve seen my wife pregnant three times … and our boss told me
- but I don’t see anything!
- well that explains: the way you’ve been acting lately/your hormonal behaviour/your last email/why you’ve been avoiding me
- why didn’t you tell me earlier?
I’m starting to feel that it should go without saying that it’s NOT good to say to a pregnant woman anything along the lines of ‘but you’re so small’ or ‘but you’re so big’ – comments like those reek of an accusation that the mother-to-be is unhealthy and is not providing the right habitat for the foetus, or even that there’s something wrong with the development of the foetus, which basically all boil down to an irresponsible mother. That’s not hyper-sensitivity; it’s reading between the lines.
Although I’m determined to get over it, the word spread at work much quicker than I intended, and not through me spreading the news. As far as I’m concerned, there are a limited number of people at work to whom this news is relevant; they are: the people I told. All other sharing of the news by others and among others is just idle gossip, is just blah, blah, blah, blah. I own this body (co-own right now, since my Mr is the fellow landlord responsible for installing my current tenant), and details regarding its development fall under the category of what’s known as ‘my business’.
Don’t worry – if you’re reading this, then you’re probably authorised to know. Just be warned. We’re big and getting bigger, and we’re not simmering down until we pop.